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Www.aids2014.org #Retweet this: HIV stigma in the twitterverse Miriam Y. Vega, PhD Latino Commission on AIDS & SPSSI UN NGO Abstract: TUAD0301.

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Presentation on theme: "Www.aids2014.org #Retweet this: HIV stigma in the twitterverse Miriam Y. Vega, PhD Latino Commission on AIDS & SPSSI UN NGO Abstract: TUAD0301."— Presentation transcript:

1 #Retweet this: HIV stigma in the twitterverse Miriam Y. Vega, PhD Latino Commission on AIDS & SPSSI UN NGO Abstract: TUAD0301

2 Reaching a World Without AIDS: What About Stigma? Numerous biomedical advances the last few years. Past UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot noted: “tackling stigma & discrimination is 1 of 5 key imperatives for success”. HIV stigma continues to be part of the discourse at the individual, structural and governing body levels. Three questions to consider going forward: –Where are we with HIV/AIDS stigma? –How to measure real-time societal or global stigma? –Can we use social media as a tool to mitigate stigma?

3 Twitter: Window onto the World? A microblog of 140 allowable characters with over 215 million active users & over 500 million tweets a day. Past research has shown Twitter to be an accurate predictor of public sentiment for a variety of topics ranging from public health to politics to brand-awareness Hashtag Activism

4 TWITTER STUDY: SENTIMENT ANALYSIS

5 Twitter Study: Method Collected English-language tweets using the public Twitter Streaming API by tracking keywords “AIDS” and “HIV”. A 23-day period that encompassed before, during and after International AIDS Conference 2012 in Washington, DC. 282,244 tweets from public stream –# of words, # of retweets (information about the tweet) –# of followers, # of people tweeter follows (the person) Tweets were analyzed for polarity (positive, negative, neutral) using SENTIWORDNET Database. Classified seven stigma-related emotions –disgust, surprise, anger, shame, pride, happiness, amusement, sadness – includes emoticons and common twitter acronyms (i.e. LOL). –based on machine-learning algorithms of psychometrically-validated text samples.

6 PositiveNeutralNegativeEmotion I hate you, you hate me. Barney gave you HIV, it started with a kiss but then he wanted more. You got raped by a dinosaur! Anger hoes be goin tho. you will suck his Dick but refuse to sex him Lmao you still getting aids #hoe Amusement I dont have herpes my dicks just itchin. Its not syphilis, and for being AIDS infested...Idk yet Im too scared to get tested Fear THE DIRTY SOUTH GOT AIDS, NIGGAA! Disgust

7 RESULTS

8 State of Emotions Overall polarity of messages was neutral, indicating information dissemination. –20% of tweets had an emotion. –2% more than one emotion. The top three expressed emotions were: disgust, amusement (contempt), and anger. –Three emotions associated with stigmatization. Very low numbers of tweets expressed internally- directed (shame, pride) emotions. Amusement and negative polarity were positively correlated (r =.145, p=000).

9 Discrete Emotions by Time

10 Tweets by Time Before IAC I don't know why, but I thought Magic Mike was about a basketball player that caught Aids. Boy was I wrong... During “congrats on LIFEBEAT their work for folks with aids should be praised..ur dedication to this cause is wonderful tnx u” Bitch said We had a 4some All them dirty n***rs deserve AIDS man hahahaha Antiretroviral treatment not only helps HIV patients live longer, it also keeps them employed, says study AIDS used as reason to legalize prostitutes: at first I thought this was a tweet #WTF Fuck! Raleigh is number 3 in the HIV/AIDS chart......I need a girlfriend. Post 90 people get swine flu and everyone wants to wear a mask. Millions of people have AIDS and HIV yet no one wants to wear a condom...

11 PREDICTING EMOTIONAL EXPRESSION AROUND HIV/AIDS

12 Hierarchal Relationship of Space on Emotions Tweeted Emotion Expressed Amusement/Surprise Disgust/Anger Fear/Shame Virtual Communication Space Word Count Influential Space Followers & Friends Chronological Space Time around IAC

13 * * * * * * * * ** **

14 Stigma Score Influential Space “Klout Score” (Followers:Friends) Chronological Space Time around IAC Virtual Communication Space Word Count * 0.019* * * P <.001

15 PREDICTING RE-TWEETING OF HIV/AIDS RELATED TWEETS

16 Retweet This! 34% of HIV-related messages were retweeted (indicating interest) –of which 11% were retweeted more than 50 times

17 Hierarchal Relationship of Space on Number of Retweets Retweet! Virtual Communication Space Word Count Influential Space Followers & Friends Chronological Space Time around IAC Emotional Space Stigma Score

18 Retweets Emotional Space Stigma Score Chronological Space Time around IAC Virtual Communication Space Word Count Influential Space “Klout Score” (Followers:Friends) 0.185* *.144 * * P < *

19 Summary: HIV Stigma in Social Media Disgust is top expressed emotion. Anger rises at height of information dissemination. The expression of anger vs. amusement occurs in different spheres of influence. The more KLOUT you have, the less stigmatizing the tweet and the more likely to be retweeted. Twitter may heighten the tendency to view oneself as a social object in need of self presentation. –While in theory twitter allows one a cathartic experience it is a cathartic experience with a mirror Information dissemination social media campaigns need to include context, and contingency plans.

20 #ThankYou Collaborators –Aaron Dabbah, MPA, America Online –Emily Klukas, MPH, Latino Commission on AIDS –Contact me at


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